Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

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raoulduke
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Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby raoulduke » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:26 am

Caveat on the noob... I collect Macs, and I'm not totally ignorant, but I'm finding it hard to find information - or at least I'm finding the way information is unstructured on the net annoying complicated in my quest here.

I got a 1040ST F today and it seems to power on fine; it checks for floppy so it sounds like the boot sequence is progressing. I'm just about to solder together a VGA cable, and then I was going to use http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php to try to make disks on my USB floppy drive. I note it says not for externals but I'll burn that bridge later (I have an internal floppy I can put in my old machine).

My issue here is with the double density aspect - which I'm assuming my 1040 has. There won't be an issue with whichever drive trying to write to DD disks? On Macs the GCR the early DD/SD disks used would basically require a bridge Mac. I'm assuming that this isn't the case with the STs? Sorry... the general forum I use suggested some of my earlier questions were too specialized.

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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby exxos » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:12 am

If you have TOS104 (other TOS might support) then you can just format the floppy on the PC and it will work on the ST.

The floimgd program is used as PC's can't read ST formatted disks. So that allows you to read access them. I never got the program working with a external USB drive, most likely a problem with the driver.
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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby AtariZoll » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:16 am

Problem with USB floppy drives is that their firmware supports only few formats. 1440KB and 720KB mostly. You can not override it with driver SW.
For Atari ST 800KB format is most interesting, so I think that you will need that old machine with built in floppy drive.
I don't know about does MAC using standard or some special floppy drive.
In case of Atari STs, they can work with standard DD floppy drives, but may happen that disk change detection works not with some. Best is to go on proven Atari compatible drive + lists of such can find in forums, some pages.
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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby raoulduke » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:46 pm

That's really interesting. This has never come up re: Macs because the GCR is a total non-starter (so I've never looked into it beyond that). I've jury rigged a VGA cable that I'll solder together properly when I get my DIN 13pin connector. But I also wrote a DD [using 'Floppy Image Program'] disk (on an actual DD disk).

It seemed to have no appreciable impact on the boot time. Maybe this is just because I'm not really familiar with ST; it seems to go through 5 or so floppy check cycles then boots to TOS. However, the disk in the drive is also TOS. Someone on vintage-computer forums mentioned the early ST's (which I suspect mine may be) only had SD drives [360k] and that it would potentially fail to read DD drives. Any thoughts? I have two SD disks but I will probably just try to write an SD image.

Does anyone have a good test image of some sort? I'm concerned there may be a problem with the drive [since disk in/disk out there's no change in symptoms].

Also, is there no place to post classifieds on the forums? I'm hoping someone has an extra mouse - that I can't hack as passively as a VGA cable.

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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby exxos » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:54 pm

raoulduke wrote:
Does anyone have a good test image of some sort? I'm concerned there may be a problem with the drive [since disk in/disk out there's no change in symptoms].

Also, is there no place to post classifieds on the forums? I'm hoping someone has an extra mouse - that I can't hack as passively as a VGA cable.


There is a format option on the desktop where you can try formatting SS or DD floppies ?

There for a for sale section also here http://www.atari-forum.com/viewforum.php?f=33
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http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.
http://ataristeven.exxoshost.co.uk/Steem.htm Latest Steem Emulator

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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby SoundDoctor » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:24 am

raoulduke wrote:That's really interesting. This has never come up re: Macs because the GCR is a total non-starter (so I've never looked into it beyond that). I've jury rigged a VGA cable that I'll solder together properly when I get my DIN 13pin connector. But I also wrote a DD [using 'Floppy Image Program'] disk (on an actual DD disk).

It seemed to have no appreciable impact on the boot time. Maybe this is just because I'm not really familiar with ST; it seems to go through 5 or so floppy check cycles then boots to TOS. However, the disk in the drive is also TOS. Someone on vintage-computer forums mentioned the early ST's (which I suspect mine may be) only had SD drives [360k] and that it would potentially fail to read DD drives. Any thoughts? I have two SD disks but I will probably just try to write an SD image.


1040STF shipped with Double Sided DD drives. They were the premium spec machine and were priced at $999 back in the day!

Only the cheaper 520ST models shipped with a Single Sided drive, the early big button machines anyway. However, given the age of these machines, it's very possible the original drive failed a long time ago and was replaced at some point with a single sided drive.

It was a cheap repair option at one point, worth doing, and not uncommon with 'big button' drive STs. It was stupidly expensive to source a 'big button' double sided replacement. 3rd party Atari compatible double sided external drives were cheaper and as people upgraded to double sided externals plenty of cheap used external Atari SF354 'big button' single sided drives became available that could be scrapped out to replace the ST internal 'big button' floppy. Most games still shipped on single sided floppies long after double sided drives became the norm so I can see why sticking a cheap used single sided drive for booting games and adding a 3rd party double sided external would be viable. You could do both for the same cost as replacing only the internal double sided 'big button' Atari drive.

A blank floppy disc in the boot drive should speed up the boot to desktop time considerably. Normally the ST will access the floppy drive repeatedly looking for bootable code on the boot sector of the floppy or Auto folder. With no disc in the drive it can crunch away doing this over and over for up to two or three minutes before GEMDOS finally gives up and the GEM desktop loads. If a floppy with a readable boot sector but no bootable code is in the drive it will satisfy GEMDOS after the first attempt and let the GEM desktop load after around 30 seconds (times are very approximate but a blank floppy should boot the ST around five times faster than no floppy).

It sounds like your drive is kaput or maybe has very dirty heads. Like Exxos says, use the TOS format floppy option, try double then single option, if the ST complains from the get go and gives a 'Data on Drive A may be damaged - Retry / Ignore /Cancel" type error then…probably kaput.
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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby raoulduke » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:55 am

Thanks exxos. I'll have to explore the forum a bit more. I've had an Atari Portfolio since I was a kid that I should try to use my parallel interface with.

I wasn't aware of the mouse cursor key commands, so I'll screw around in a little bit with the drive/machine. I'm afraid I know nothing of this machine's history. I'll also burn some different software [I need to try Genmouse anyway until I can find or build a mouse - though I don't think it's really cheaper for me to build one than buy an adapter].

I'm amazed I didn't get skewered on this topic since it started out with such a stupid question [my own assessment]. Thanks again.

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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:36 am

There is big chance that floppy drive head(s) are dirty, so cleaning may fix the problem.
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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby raoulduke » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:06 am

I tried this hack: http://www.amigaportal.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=5478 on my NEC FD1231M Rev A00. I got basically similar errors, although I'm unclear on how an HD drive would work. So could that be the issue or what would one check for floppy problems after the drive itself?

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Re: Complete Noob with 1040ST[F]

Postby raoulduke » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:18 am

I got an SFD-321b Rev WT-05; I did the mod seen here (http://www.atari-wiki.com/index.php/Fil ... _After.jpg) but I still get the error "An error has occurred during format or copy. Target disk may be unusable." with several disks. On the new drive the bar moves slightly and I can hear it trying to format but that's the only difference. The light on the drive and ST blink incessantly. Could this be a mentioned low-power issue rather than an identical problem to the original drive?


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